Michael McLaughlin is the creator of Hike4Kids, Unite4Kids, and Education Unlocked.  He is the first person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and Ozark Trail back-to-back, a feat which raised $15,000 for charity.  Michael holds three master’s degrees, a CPA license, and is completing his PhD at Washington University in St. Louis.  But the most amazing part of Michael’s story is where it began. 

At the age of seventeen, Michael found himself homeless– living at times in a storage shed, a car, a tent, and a camper.  He hadn’t met his father until he was sixteen years old and living in foster care, following childhood abuse that resulted in Michael’s face being permanently scarred.  Although he lacked basic amenities such as heat and running water, Michael pursued his education and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 4.0 grade point average.  Michael continued to earn accolades in graduate school, winning a $25,000 fellowship from the Deloitte Foundation and becoming the first individual to receive the TeamMBA Service Award. 

A frequent speaker, Michael has emceed charity events, delivered commencement addresses, and shared his inspiring story with audiences across the country. 

“We spend a lot of time thinking about the opinions of others, but the most important opinion in your life is the one you have of yourself.”